Monday, May 24, 2010

Greene King backs minimum pricing

Greene King backs minimum pricing; well, they would, wouldn't they...

There are many things going on here and Leahy has a much better hold on this than the pubco people do...

One thing is binge drinking, another is the price at which supermarkets sell their beer; chronically failing pubs and a chaotically collapsing pub sector are two more. What makes these things seem connected is a retail product - beer mostly - and its being much cheaper to buy from places that provide no ambience, conviviality or amenity and don't serve it to you in a glass with a smile, than in a pub.

The pub industry is in decline. Everyone has know this for decades. Why it is in decline has not been investigated deeply enough or openly acknowledged. The pricing of supermarket booze may be an issue to society altogether but it is not supermarkets that have brought the pub trade to its knees with broken ankles. The pub industry has done that all on its own. Having no profit left at its foundations means it has become dilapidated, under-invested, under trained, short term in its outlook without any hope of recovery without a lot of very serious restructuring and rebalancing taking place.

For this trade, minimum pricing is a convenient diversion from discussions about why pubcos are falling apart and why their pubs are closing in droves.

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